IPSA is launching a pilot set of political science MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), the new format for online higher education. In the academic world, MOOCs are viewed as a “disruptive innovation” offering great opportunities to improve teaching and learning methods as well as a new environment for cooperative efforts to disseminate knowledge around the world.
The numbers are huge. Thus far, more than 35 million users have enrolled in the estimated 4,200 MOOCs available online. Many among the most authoritative U.S. and European universities are investing significant financial and organizational resources in a bid to meet this new Web learning challenge. According to statistics produced by Class Central, however, social sciences only account for about 10% of this new market, with political science still representing only a marginal proportion of the courses offered.
The IPSAMOOC program, scheduled to go online by mid-June, will draw from previous IPSA projects, such as the IPSAPortal (www.ipsaportal.net), the official publication dedicated to retrieving and evaluating Web sources for political science. IPSAMOOCs are developed in cooperation with Federica Weblearning (www.federica.eu), the Center for Distance Learning at the University of Naples Federico II, which boasts an established record of 300 e-learning courses and more than 40 online MOOCs.
This first set of IPSAMOOCs will cover the basic introductory areas in the study of political science, ranging from Research Designs and Methods to Comparative Political Systems, and from World Politics to Political Concepts and History of Political Theory. Each course will follow a common format aimed at enhancing the user experience across different political science subdisciplinary areas. Special attention will be devoted to the integration of written and video material, coupled with the intensive use of Web sources. With an innovative interface, IPSAMOOC will offer interactive classes to students, with no geographical constraints.
Enrollment to IPSAMOOC is free and will be available on the IPSA website in time for the new program’s launch in mid-June. Classes will start in July, in conjunction with the 24th World Congress.
IPSAMOOC will be the first “concept” program of MOOCs in political science.